During tube installation or maintenance, operators are often required to lay down and hold tooling over their head. This can pose both ergonomic and safety challenges for the operator. The most common motor used in boiler tube installation is a right-angle rolling motor. While these high-torque motors are designed to roll tubes in confined spaces, they can be heavy and bulky. Working inside drums, operators are often in a position that makes it difficult to brace or react to torque, increasing the risk of injury.
One of the best ways to reduce fatigue and improve safety is to use a motor suited for the job. In smaller package style boilers, tubes are generally smaller and have a thinner tube sheets and drums, meaning less torque is required to get the job done. In these applications, a smaller motor with ~2/3 the torque can give the operator more freedom of motion and eliminate injury caused by overpowered -90 RPM motors. Additionally, in applications where operators are rolling to feel instead of to a specific torque, a stall torque motor can be a great way to reduce weight and size.
In cases where more torque is required, having the ability to react to torque can reduce some of the strain on the operator. If space allows, a torque reaction bar is highly recommended for operator safety. In tight spaces, operators will often place a smaller tube inside of an adjacent tube allowing the tube sheet to absorb excess torque, reducing the force on the operator. Additionally, some prefer to use a roll or twist throttle motor when working in drums in the case an operator gets stuck and cannot release the lever throttle.